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Baselworld 2019: The Three Most Important Rolex Novelties

Baselworld 2019: The Three Most Important Rolex Novelties

rolex gmt master ll 126710 BLNR

GMT-Master II Ref. 126710BLNR

Last year, Rolex caused a small sensation with the return of the GMT-Master II ‘Pepsi’ (Ref. 126710 BLRO) and its long-awaited steel version. Will the brand score another coup with an unexpected novelty this year? There is no need – why should they not built upon a reliable product and instead take a risk? Rolex did the former – the new GMT-Master II Ref. 126710 BLNR is a further development to last years ‘Pepsi’ watch. Strictly speaking, it is a new edition of the 2013 version with a black and blue ceramic bezel that the Rolex community calls ‘Batman’.

The new GMT-Master II with Jubilee Oystersteel bracelet

Hence, it carries the reference BLNR and not BLRO, the latter stands for the ‘Pepsi’ version with a red and blue bezel. Both watches however house the new-generation calibre 3285 and the contentious Jubilee bracelet, which is put on the ‘Batman’ (BLNR) for the first time. The five-piece Jubilee Oystersteel-bracelet was first developed in 1945 for the launch of the Oyster Perpetual Datejust and causes mixed feelings amongst Rolex fans. 

The bezel has a blue & black Cerachrom insert with 24-hour graduation

It almost seems that the blue shade of the new reference has been reworked slightly – the blue appears to be more intense as seen on the 2013 version. The GMT-Master II Ref. 126710 BLNR has a 24-hour graduated Cerachrom insert on its bezel. The in-house calibre 3285 is remarkably advanced thanks to a few Rolex patents. The movement has a powerful Chronergy escapement made of nickel-phosphorus, which makes the watch insensitive to magnetic interferences. An improved version of the blue Parachrom hairspring makes it up to 10 times more precise than a traditional hairspring in case of shocks. The power reserve has been extended to 70 hours. Price: 8.400 Euro

Sea-Dweller Ref. 126603 Rolesor

The ‚DeepSea Special‘, that dived into the Mariana Trench in 1960 already had a bicolor bracelet. Since 1933, Rolex calls the combination of steel and gold ‘Rolesor’, deriving from Oystersteel and 18 Karat yellow gold. Ever since, pretty much all Rolex diving watches have once in their lifetime been equipped with Rolesor.

The first Sea-Dweller with Rolesor (Oystersteel and 18 Karat yellow gold)

In 2019 finally, after 50 years the Sea-Dweller bridges the gap of the mechanical ‘sea dwellers’ made of Rolesor. It is technically unchanged to its predecessor model from 2017 and equipped with the precise calibre 3235. It is waterproof up to 1.220 meters and also has the 1967 patented helium escape valve, fitted into the side of the watch case. The devil’s in the detail: The hour markers on the dial are framed in yellow gold to fit the bracelet’s hue. For the first time, the lettering ‘Sea-Dweller’ appears in yellow gold instead of red. The new Sea-Dweller Rolesor Ref. 126603 has the Rolex typical Oysterlock folding safety clasp, that prevents accidental opening. Price: 14.600 Euro

To fit the bracelet, hour markers frame and lettering also appear in yellow gold

Yacht-Master 42 Ref. 226659 in white gold

The Yacht-Master, just like its name implies, is rather a tool watch performing above the water surface – other than its diving friends ‘Submariner’ and ‘Sea-Dweller’ that feel home in the depths of the sea. This year, Rolex puts even more attention to the Yacht-Master’s public presence.

Yacht-Master 42 in white gold

For the first time, it appears in a 42 mm case – any former Yacht-Master had a maximum of 40 mm case diameter. Since either the new GMT-Master II or the new Sea-Dweller come in white gold this year, it’s now the new and slightly grown Yacht-Master 42 Ref. 226659 that comes with an 18 Karat white gold case. The bezel is fitted with a 60-minute graduated Cerachrom insert in matt black ceramic. The dial is black lacquered and offers great legibility due to its long-lasting luminescence Chromalight hour markers. Like all novelties, also the new Yacht-Master is equipped with a new-generation movement: in this case it’s the reliable calibre 3235 that also runs inside the Sea-Dweller. It has a sporty Oysterflex bracelet with flexible metal blades coated with high-performance elastomer (a rubber-like material). It can be locked by a typical Rolex Oysterlock folding safety clasp. Price: 25.250 Euro

The first Yacht-Master with a 42 mm case diameter

All novelties have the “Superlative Chronometer” certification for exceptional performance, an exclusive designation that Rolex redefined in 2015. The dedicated green seal is coupled with an international five-year guarantee.